Showing posts from June, 2013

Angela Clemente Takes on the Mob and the Feds

Angela Clemente, who is both an inspiration and a friend, very much deserves this New York Times profile; she has done tons of work and has accomplished much with little recognition or compensation.

As the New York Times writes below, "for nearly 15 years, [Angela] Clemente, 48 and a self-professed 'forensic analyst,' has waged an independent and improbable campaign to prove that the government turned a blind eye to as many as 39 murders committed in New York by turncoat gangsters it paid to work as informants."

It was Angela who sued the Feds and used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain "more than 1,000 pages of previously classified material concerning Mr. Scarpa." (The same material was used by Peter Lance, the author of the true-crime book, Deal with the Devil, who also wrote the forward to John "Junior" Gotti's ebook.)

Goodfella Rapper G-Fella Coming to Fuse - July 24

Commercial for the upcoming show "G Thing" airing Wednesday, July 24th at 11:30pm EST

Is this a Renaissance for the New York Mafia?

I thought I'd take a look at this, since some readers seem to be commenting an awful lot on a recent post about the Gambino family having 750 made members and associates.

We all know the FBI has only two squads -- roughly 25 agents -- left to keep an eye on, never mind investigate, New York's five Mafia families. So now would seem the perfect time for them to start growing, start doing some real business -- I am talking executions and murders, too -- err, I mean acquisitions and mergers...

Gambinos Name Cali Boss as Cefalu Steps Aside

I am well aware that this story has been refuted in several follow-up reports; I let it stand as is purposefully, not because I forgot, don't know or am too lazy to update it. I believe Cali is boss, in other words.

From DNAInfo New York:
NEW YORK CITY — The Gambino crime family is set to name Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali as its new godfather.

Cali — a native New Yorker who traces his roots firmly to Sicily — is to be secretly anointed as the next head of the nation’s largest La Cosa Nostra organization, sources told DNAinfo New York.

Heist at JFK Nets $1.2M in $100 Bills

From the Associated Press:

FBI agents were investigating a report that about $1.2 million disappeared from a shipment of cash flown from Switzerland to New York City as part of a banking transaction, authorities said Tuesday. The U.S. currency — all $100 bills — was reported missing on Monday after a count of the money at the Federal Reserve came up short.

The shipment had arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday afternoon aboard a Swiss International Air Lines flight, said FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald. The FBI is investigating whether the cash disappeared from a cargo hold in Zurich, where Flight 17 originated, or sometime after it landed. The JFK airport's operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, declined to comment on Tuesday.

In an email, the airline also said it could not comment due to the ongoing investigation. But it added it had "no indication that any valuables were removed from a Swiss International Air Lines aircraft" at J…

Bonannos Reboot as Mob Squad Gets Halved

The NY Daily News is reporting that the Bonanno crime family has picked Michael “The Nose” Mancuso as its "official boss," noting that "Mancuso, 59, would be the first top banana to hold that title since longtime boss Joseph Massino, who turned rat shortly after he was convicted in 2005 of racketeering and multiple murders."

We have spoken to a few sources who have had not very pleasant things to say about the reporter who wrote the pro-Mancuso piece, which seems as if it were dashed off  in an attempt to catch up with reporter Jerry Capeci, who last week reported that while Mancuso may take the big seat when he gets out of the can in five years, for now the main Bonanno on the street, and boss of the borgata, is Thomas DeFiore.

Q&A with 'Five Families' Author Selwyn Raab

The GothamGazette is running an interview with Selwyn Raab, author of "The Five Families," a massive tome on the history of the Mafia in America which I have repeatedly recommended mob enthusiasts devour. For those who have, or haven't, check it out:

Selwyn Raab recently met with Gotham Gazette's Reading NYC Book Club to discuss his book Five Families: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires, a history of the Mafia from its origins in Sicily to the present day. The following is an edited transcript of the event.

GOTHAM GAZETTE: Mr. Raab, your book focuses largely on the fall of the New York crime families, but the title includes the phrase "resurgence." What's going on with the Mafia in New York City right now?

Tony Soprano Died in Finale: Here's Why

I've been thinking a lot about The Sopranos since the death of James Gandolfini. I dug out the box sets and watched my favorite episodes, sometimes my favorite scenes. I grabbed my Kindle Fire and looked for stories about the man. Eventually, I came across one piece that I literally spent Saturday afternoon reading. It has to do with that final scene of the final episode of that amazing television series.

I firmly believe that the theory of the writer of the piece, who is anonymous, is 100% correct, and my innocuous analysis of the ending is wrong.

Interestingly, it was over that house of questionable construction that Carm was trying to sell. She had meetings that night and thus had no time to cook the manicotti AJ was looking forward to. Hence, they were going out for dinner.

'Goodfellas' Due on the Small Screen, Courtesy of AMC

One thing about "Goodfellas": Ray, Bobby D, Joe Pesce and elder statesman Paul Sorvino rocked it... They looked like what mobsters were supposed to look like, with those luxurious suits, silk ties, neatly coiffed haircuts, with not a single strand out of place.

They didn't exactly look like the real crew -- Paul Vario's, of the Luchese family; the real members of the gang look like they are wearing really bad 1970s castoff clothing. But without the original dudes, without Henry Hill flipping and writing his book, on which the film is based, there never would've been Goodfellas, than today's mobsters would still rely on The Godfather to tell them how to dress and act.

Burke Is Back: FBI Searches his Former Queens Home

From the — The FBI began digging for a body Monday in the former Queens home of notorious mob power James “Jimmy The Gent” Burke, who was famously portrayed by Robert De Niro in the movie "Goodfellas," sources told DNAinfo New York.

FBI Evidence Collection specialists and agents from the Organized Crime Division descended into the basement of Burke’s family home at 81-48 102 Rd. in South Ozone Park around 8 a.m. armed with jackhammers and sledge hammers.

Sources said the feds recently obtained information from a new cooperating informant linked to the Gambino and Bonanno crime families who told them he believed a hood who disappeared decades ago was buried in Burke’s basement or backyard.

The sources say the dig is not related the fabled 1978 Lufthansa Heist, where Burke, portrayed as Jimmy Conway by De Niro in "Goodfellas," and his fellow wiseguys pulled off an $8 million robbery at JFK, which at the time was the largest robbery in history and …

Gandolfini Dead at 51: 'Sopranos' Star Suffered Major Heart Attack: New York Daily News

James Gandolfini, the New Jersey-bred actor who delighted audiences as mob boss Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos” died following a massive heart attack in Italy.
“Everyone is in tears,” the source close to the 51-year-old TV tough guy said.

“Everyone is in tears,”

James Gandolfini, Sopranos Star, Died of a Heart Attack

This is one of the last pieces I wrote about Gandolfini...
RIP, Tony, you were an actor's actor...

I hated the ending of The Sopranos; I mean, I really, really hated it. When the screen went black, I threw the remote, yelled "Shit!" and thought why does the Emergency Broadcast System pick now to run a system check. Then, I thought maybe the cable had gone out -- dying on me at the worst moment. When the credits started rolling, silently, I still didn't get it. I immediately set up my DVR to record the replay, thinking somehow, someway, my cable had dropped out on me for the end of the last scene.

Then realization sank in. My anger started rising. That sonofabitch Chase, I thought, he screwed all of us... for all these years we -- the legions of loyal fans of the show -- have all been waiting for one thing: to discover Tony's fate. Would he live or get whacked? Get prison, or escape? I actually thought at the end he was going to rat out everyone -- well, whoever wa…

Ex-Mafioso Sal Polisi to Whitey Bulger: Apologize

From The Boston Herald:  The “best thing” James “Whitey” Bulger can do to redeem his reputation as the FBI’s pet rat and a butcher of women, another ex-mobster told the Herald yesterday, is the last thing the Southie ganglord will ever do: Apologize.
Former Mafia henchman Salvatore “Crazy Sal” Polisi said yesterday Bulger doesn’t understand the remorseless world he left behind when he went on the lam in 1995 is gone.

“He wants to hang on to who he was before. He’ll call all those witnesses liars. He’ll look in the faces of those 19 victims’ families and tell them, ‘I didn’t do it.’ He’ll never admit he killed anybody. All he can do is try and save his persona as the greatest Irish gangster of our time,” said Polisi, 68, who was a convicted bank robber and drug merchant with New York’s Gambino crime family who later testified against mafia don John Gotti.

Polisi’s advice to Whitey? “Get a life, pal. Apologize. And I mean (that) in a sincere way. You’re not going to beat anything.”

New Bonanno Boss: Basciano Out; Tommy DiFiore In

Thomas (Tommy D) DiFiore, a 70-year-old gangster from Commack, Long Island, having consolidated his power within the Bonanno crime family, has been named boss of that borgata.

Sources told us DiFiore longs for the good old days, when the organization was secret, and made men and their associates did not roll for the government. And a mob boss would swallow a bullet before even thinking about what former Bonanno boss Joe Massino did. He is old-school to the marrow in his bones, we hear.

According to last week's column, written by Jerry Capeci, DiFiore "is viewed by some law enforcement officials as little more than a caretaker-leader for the imprisoned Michael (Mikey Nose) Mancuso. But Mancuso is not due to be released until 2019, and as one wag told Gang Land the other day, A lot of spit can go down in six years."

Gambino Associate Flips; Still Gets 12 Years

From the

A mobster who thought that turning rat would win him a pass for a 1996 murder got a big surprise at his sentencing yesterday: 12 years in the slammer.

Turncoat Gambino family associate David D’Arpino’s parents erupted in fury after Brooklyn federal Judge Sterling Johnson rejected his plea for five years’ time served.

D’Arpino’s mom tearfully complained that another murderous mob stoolie — John Alite, a former pal of mob scion John “Junior” Gotti — got less time, “and he killed more people.”

“It’s not right!” she wailed.

D’Arpino’s dad also bellowed, “The guy from ‘American Gangster’ got five years, and he killed hundreds of people!” in a reference to the former Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas. Lucas was convicted on drug charges in the 1970s, but was not charged with any murders.

Earlier, defense lawyer Sam Braverman argued that D’Arpino had done “honest penance” for the fatal shooting of drug dealer John Gebert by cooperating with the feds and called the five ye…

Bulger Jurors View his Weapons Collection, Including Six Machine Guns

By AP, as published on SFGate:

Jurors in James "Whitey" Bulger's racketeering trial on Thursday were shown machine guns and other weapons from a massive arsenal that investigators say he and his gang owned, as prosecutors attempted to show that Bulger ran a criminal enterprise through violence, intimidation and fear.

Retired state police Col. Thomas Foley identified weapons hidden in several locations during a 2000 investigation, including in a shed behind a South Boston home owned by the mother of Bulger's partner, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi. When investigators searched the shed, they found just one handgun, but later, Flemmi's son led them to a house in Somerville and a storage facility in Florida where the guns had been moved.

Foley slowly and methodically identified dozens of guns through photographs. But there was a dramatic moment when prosecutor Fred Wyshak pulled out six machine guns — one at a time — and asked Foley to identify them.

Foley said…

Is Mob Whipping Boy Seagal the Lamest Guy Ever?

In January 2012, we highlighted a piece running on the UK's Mail Online about the ongoing lawsuit regarding Steven Seagal, the martial arts actor, who was accused of failing to repay the $500,000 he allegedly owed film producer Julius Nasso.

"In 2002 Nasso sued his Seagal for $60 million, claiming he backed out on four planned action films," the article reports."The flamboyant star claimed he walked because the violent movies were at odds with his Buddhist religious belief.

"However he would later testify that after breaking ties with Nasso he was shaken down by soliders from the Gambino mafia family in the back room of a Brooklyn steakhouse.

"He said a reputed mob captain told him he would be sorry if he did not start working with Nasso again, and that he would also have to pay an extra $150,000 per movie.

"The mobsters were caught laughing about the incident on an FBI wiretap."

We don't know how that lawsuit came out for Seagal, but we do …

Whitey Bulger's Boston Brand of 'Murder and Mayhem' on Trial

From the Associated Press, by way of the

BOSTON — A federal prosecutor said in opening statements Wednesday at James "Whitey" Bulger's racketeering trial that the reputed mobster was at the center of "murder and mayhem" in Boston for almost 30 years, while the defense attacked the credibility of the government's star witnesses.

Prosecutor Brian Kelly told jurors that Bulger headed the violent Winter Hill Gang that "ran amok" in Boston for nearly three decades, killing 19 people, extorting millions from drug dealers and other criminals, and corrupting police and FBI agents.

"At the center of all this murder and mayhem is one man — the defendant in this case, James Bulger," Kelly said.

Bulger's lead attorney, J. W. Carney Jr., went after the prosecution's star witnesses, including hit man John Martorano, who admitted killing 20 people and has agreed to testify against Bulger.

Martorano served 12 years in prison for his…

Feds Go to Bat to Whack Massino's Life Sentence

The feds are asking a judge to reduce the life sentence of former Bonanno family crime boss Joseph Massino as a reward for his unprecedented cooperation.

“As the first official boss of the American Mafia to testify publicly, Massino’s cooperation was an important milestone in the decades-long effort by the Department of Justice to dismantle and uproot La Cosa Nostra,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Taryn Merkl stated in papers filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Massino, 70, sought a cooperation deal from the government immediately after he was convicted in 2004 of racketeering and eight gangland rubouts.

Prosecutors were skeptical at first, but Massino won them over when he claimed to have knowledge of a plot by his successor, Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, to whack mob-busting Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres. He testified in two mob trials and provided assistance that led to dozens of convictions.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis has scheduled the resentencing for June 20. Massino …

Lowdown on Life of an Underboss: "Nicky Mouth" Santora

Interview with Belinda Rossetti 
Belinda, give us a shout if and and when you see this!
These men who hold high-level positions in Mafia crime families... what are they like?

Because they do exist - they are not a figment of David Chase and Jerry Capeci's imaginations.They are not characters on TV shows or in films. Men who hold rank -- bosses, underbosses, consiglieris, either official or acting -- are human beings who get out of bed one foot at a time.

Frequently, they go to prison and die there. Sometimes they die in their own bed of natural causes....

 What are they really like, these man who must be as wise as a fox and as strong as the lion, who must balance a strong business sense with the primal capacity to order the deaths of men.

We met recently with Belinda Rossetti, a lovely dark-eyed bella donna who works as a paralegal for a high-powered attorney.

Capeci: Luchese/Bonanno Mob War a Fiction

UPDATE: Gangland's Jerry Capeci this week refutes the idea of a mob war currently being fought between the Bonanno and Luchese crime families -- and wonders if Enzo "the Baker" Stagno is even a made man as the Post article, which broke this "story," claims.

Capeci quoted one recognized associate of the Bonanno and Gambino families who occasionally speaks to Gang Land as saying: "A few guys saw it in the paper and none of us have a clue who he is."

The mob scribe added: "Most law enforcement officials concurred. But one described Stagno as 'definitely' an associate of the Bonanno family. He may in fact, have been recently inducted into the crime family, which has been hard pressed to increase its numbers in recent years, said this source."

As for the alleged Bonanno-Luchese feud, Capeci wrote, "there's more than a little truth there as well. Several law enforcement sources confirmed the two sides have been at odds in recent …

Bonanno Soldier Shot on Luchese Family Orders

From the EXCLUSIVE: An admitted Mafia soldier survived an attempted hit on an East Harlem street that cops suspect was ordered by rival wiseguys, law-enforcement sources told The Post yesterday.

Enzo “The Baker” Stagno, 47, of Whitestone, Queens — who told cops he was a made man in the Bonnano crime family — was struck in the chest Wednesday as he made a phone call in his SUV parked at East 111th Street and First Avenue, the sources said.

Stagno suffered only a graze wound in the failed rubout.

Tensions have been mounting between the Bonanno and Luchese families, sources said.
Investigators suspect it was an assassination attempt ordered by the Luchese crime family, the sources said.

Stagno was treated at St. Luke’s Hospital and then taken to the 23rd Precinct for questioning.

At first, he denied he had mob ties, but later admitted he was a Bonanno soldier, the sources said.

“Somebody definitely tried to kill him. Somebody definitely wanted him dead,” said a law-enforcement…

Seizure Likely Caused Death of Philly Lawyer's Girlfriend

From Crimesider - CBS News:

Julia Law/Facebook Julia Law, the 26-year-old girlfriend and paralegal to high-profile Philadelphia defense attorney Charles Peruto Jr., likely drowned in a bathtub after suffering a seizure, two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation say, according

Law, who would have turned 27 on Tuesday, was reportedly found naked, face down in a bathtub inside Peruto's Center City condo on May 25 by a maintenance worker.

The two law enforcement officials reportedly confirmed there were no drugs or alcohol found at the scene, there was no indication of a struggle and the liquor closet was closed. But they say Law had been frothing at the mouth, which indicates the possibility of a seizure, the news site reports.

The official cause of death cannot be determined until toxicology reports are reviewed and those results are still pending.

CBS Philly reports sources say Peruto, 58, was in Avalon, N.J. for the weekend and was not at home whe…